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Thread: Railgun Update from General Atomics

  1. #1 Railgun Update from General Atomics 
    AI's Have More Fun Bad Robot's Avatar
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    Video: Railgun Blasts an Aerodynamic Round Seven Kilometers Through A Steel Plate
    Older railgun projectiles tumbled through the air; this one flies with what can only be called grace

    Video: Railgun Blasts an Aerodynamic Round Seven Kilometers Through A Steel Plate | Popular Science

    The video above is impressive.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    Got a virus message when I opened that link.


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  4. #3  
    AI's Have More Fun Bad Robot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    Got a virus message when I opened that link.
    I would suspect your virus checker needs some adjustments, as that is a Popular Science link and my own virus checker would have detected any problem, if there was one.
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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Oh good.
    They've managed to come up with a "gun" that generates <85% of the muzzle velocity of the current German tank gun, while taking up vastly more space and using huge amounts of electrical current.
    Woohoo!
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Oh good.
    They've managed to come up with a "gun" that generates <85% of the muzzle velocity of the current German tank gun, while taking up vastly more space and using huge amounts of electrical current.
    Woohoo!
    Well you have to start somewhere. Anyway I got the impression they weren't using full power, whatever that may be.
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  7. #6  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    Well you have to start somewhere. Anyway I got the impression they weren't using full power, whatever that may be.
    "Start" is a bit of a cop-out.
    I have magazine cuttings on the development of rail guns (British and US) dating back to the late 70s.
    From memory: Kirkudbright (MoD establishment in Scotland) achieved 4,000 m/ sec (i.e. 2.5 times the one in the video) in 1980.
    University of Canberra got 5,900 m/ sec at least 8 years ago.
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    Well you have to start somewhere. Anyway I got the impression they weren't using full power, whatever that may be.
    "Start" is a bit of a cop-out.
    I have magazine cuttings on the development of rail guns (British and US) dating back to the late 70s.
    From memory: Kirkudbright (MoD establishment in Scotland) achieved 4,000 m/ sec (i.e. 2.5 times the one in the video) in 1980.
    University of Canberra got 5,900 m/ sec at least 8 years ago.
    Okay they could have cranked up the power a bit. It sounded like the main purpose of this test was to demonstrate they could use a projectile without it tumbling, and they succeeded. Now, they can work on creating even more powerful railguns.

    I won't be happy until they can put projectiles into space with accuracy.
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  9. #8  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    It sounded like the main purpose of this test was to demonstrate they could use a projectile without it tumbling, and they succeeded.
    Um, that was done on August 31st 1988 (at least - possibly earlier) with a 280mm long coneline projectile at 2.1 km/ sec.

    I won't be happy until they can put projectiles into space with accuracy.
    The problem there is component survivability.
    The previously-mentioned Canberra "weapon" threw its projectile at 250,000 g!
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    It sounded like the main purpose of this test was to demonstrate they could use a projectile without it tumbling, and they succeeded.
    Um, that was done on August 31st 1988 (at least - possibly earlier) with a 280mm long coneline projectile at 2.1 km/ sec.

    I won't be happy until they can put projectiles into space with accuracy.
    The problem there is component survivability.
    The previously-mentioned Canberra "weapon" threw its projectile at 250,000 g!
    At what muzzle velocity would you have to have to achieve Earth orbit and what possible materials would stand up to that kind escape velocity.
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  11. #10  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Escape velocity is, what, ~11 km/ sec?
    It's not so much a question of materials withstanding the velocity so much as the acceleration.
    Using a longer "barrel" - i.e. turn into a linear accelerator rather than a gun - would help. That reduces the acceleration to more manageable levels.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Escape velocity is, what, ~11 km/ sec?
    It's not so much a question of materials withstanding the velocity so much as the acceleration.
    Using a longer "barrel" - i.e. turn into a linear accelerator rather than a gun - would help. That reduces the acceleration to more manageable levels.
    I would think the acceleration would stop at the end of the railgun barrel, so you would need a muzzle velocity that would carry the projectile all the way. It may be exactly what you said a longer barrel to get the job done.
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